Father's Day



For those of us who received cards from our children who gave cards to someone else they call ‘dad’

For those of us who received cards from someone else’s children, who call us ‘dad’

For those of us who received no cards from children who live with us or away from us,

for whom we tried to do our best and never meant to disappoint

whose existence we imagined as we gave vows to their mothers

whom we held in disbelieving awe at the moment of their birth

whom we fed and clothed and bathed and changed and loved –


built your cots, painted your nurseries, bought your toys

took you to your playgroups, to your friends, your schools

and even when we couldn’t, wished we could,

already sensing the growing gap between our lives and yours

Cruelly widened when the separation came.


And a Father’s Day that ought to signal gratitude and love

now speaks of distant memories, and of what might have been

and whispers, mocking, not of our achievement

but our failure, our irrelevance, our loss.


So as we look at cards suspiciously or doubting

or gaze ruefully at mantelpiece bereft

let’s console ourselves with moments that were precious

conversations we can cherish, smiles we shared

that can never be expressed in cards and greetings

from our children, someone else’s or from none


Let’s remember how we once made happy families

Though those families vanished, fathers we remain

To those who call us dad, or never call us
And find a little comfort 'midst the pain.